Now we get to separate the winners from the losers and the haves from the have nots.
Fantasy owners conduct hours of research and preparation to get ready for the most important day – the fantasy draft. I believe that the waiver wire is just as important as the draft itself. Your current roster should NOT look the same at the end of the season. If the roster is similar, then the other owners in your league should thank you for the donation. I bet that they can not wait to see you next season.
Strategic changes to your roster throughout the season will play a critical role in your success. It is the MOST single important factor to a successful fantasy season.
Players emerge every season and Fantasy owners need to be ahead of the curve. You want to grab the player every owner wants; a week before everyone else knows about that player’s upside.
Let’s take a look at the players (owned in less than 35% of ESPN leagues) that you should consider to put you ahead of the curve in the Week 2 Waiver Wire.
2017 Fantasy Football Week 2 Waiver Wire
Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (29%)
WOW! Where did that come from? That was the most un-Alex Smith performance you will ever see. Entering the 2017 season, he had just six 300-yard passing performances in 142 career games. Smith shredded the defending champion Patriots, completing 28-of-35 passes for 385 yards and four touchdowns.
There were rumors all summer that Alex Smith was upset about the Chiefs selecting Patrick Mahomes in the draft, and the fact that Pat Mahomes was taking his job as early as this season. I think he stopped that noise for now.
Smith is still the same quarterback who has long been a favorite streaming option in fantasy. But who is playing him when he was facing the Patriots at Gillette Stadium, where they were going to celebrate their amazing comeback Super Bowl win?
He just had the best performance of his career, so what do fantasy owners do now with Alex Smith?
I would pick him up and try to trade him right away to someone who thinks he will be a fantasy stud the rest of the season. He has built a reputation of being a vanilla quarterback who thrives off short passes. You can’t win like that in fantasy football.
Alex Smith is a QB2 with occasional (random) QB1 upside.
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (5%)
The polarizing first overall pick in the 2016 draft looked great in the Rams 46-9 blowout victory Sunday. He completed 21 of 29 pass attempts for 306 yards, 10.55 yards per attempt, one TD and zero interceptions.
He should be on the radar as a stream-worthy QB in one-quarterback leagues. In Superflex and two-quarterback leagues, he should be owned and has the upside to be a reliable QB2.
Jay Cutler, Miami Dolphins (8%)
Maybe someone forgot about Cutler? Or they had to drop him because the Dolphins did not play Week 1?
Jay Cutler had the best year of his career when he had Adam Gase as offensive coordinator in Chicago, so that bodes well for the Dolphins. Receiver DeVante Parker had a terrific summer, and this looks like it will be a breakout season for him. The Dolphins have a running game with running back Jay Ajayi coming off a tremendous year, which should take some pressure off Cutler.
Look for Jay Cutler to have the best statistical season of his career in 2017.
Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears (10%)
Tarik Cohen was all over the place in Week 1, touching the ball 13 times (five carries, eight receptions) for 113 total yards and a touchdown. He took one snap out of the wildcat formation, handing the ball to Jordan Howard who ran it into the end zone. Add it all up, and Cohen totaled 17.3 points in standard leagues and 25.3 points in PPR formats.
Having lost Cameron Merideth and Kevin White, the Bears are in urgent need of an additional offensive threat. The Bears will almost certainly find ways to get him involved on offense. His speed and ability to cut-and-run make him an interesting option capable of contributing on multiple levels.
It appears that it could be a backfield committee with Jordan Howard. Cohen played on 43 percent of the plays to Howard’s 56. Cohen is worth a roster spot even if you don’t own Howard. He is a good bet to average 12-15 touches per game and that type of opportunity should jump out to fantasy owners.
Tarik Cohen should be THE priority add this week, especially in PPR formats.
Kerwynn Williams, Arizona Cardinals (2%)
What a devasting injury to football and fantasy football fans alike. David Johnson looks to have suffered a dislocated wrist. The extent of the injury and subsequent absence are unknown at this time, but it ranges from 2-4 weeks to half a season.
*editors note latest update is DJ will miss 2-3 months.
David Johnson’s direct back up is Kerwynn Williams. He may be the Cardinals’ lead back for the time being, but that isn’t enough to guarantee him a starting spot on your fantasy team. Williams was able to punch in a short touchdown after Johnson left the game on Sunday. He stands to get 15-touches while Johson is out, which makes him a worthwhile pickup in standard leagues only. Andre Ellington is also in play, especially in PPR leagues.
This figures to be some type of committee with Williams looking like the best bet to receive the majority of the ground work and goal-line upside. Andre Ellington figures to work in more as a receiver and the team could even re-sign Chris Johnson to add to the mix.
Kerwynn Williams should be at the top of the waiver-wire list for those who drafted Johnson. Otherwise, I wouldn’t overspend on Williams, as he is not the clear-cut replacement for David Johnson’s role.
Javorius Allen, Baltimore Ravens (1%)
RB Danny Woodhead was brought to Baltimore to be their third down/receiving back. Coming off hamstring issues this preseason, Woodhead seemed to have re-tweaked the injury in the season opener.
Buck Allen took advantage of Woodhead’s hamstring injury, running 22 times for 72 yards but failed to haul in his lone target. Even though Allen didn’t catch any passes, he is a solid receiving back, so if Woodhead is out for an extended period, Allen could have major PPR value.
He is not quite the weapon Woodhead is, but he this is a great opportunity. Starter Terrance West is a total non-factor as a receiver, and the Ravens need a large presence from their running backs in the passing game.
Allen is a nice dual-threat player who would fit into the third down/receiving back role and could take over the lead duties from West. He needs to be added in all leagues.
Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams (18%)
The hype train was rolling for him this summer and it continued into Week 1.
Cooper Kupp stood out in the preseason and was Jared Goff’s favorite weapon. He looked good in his NFL debut, catching four of six targets for 76 yards and a touchdown. He led the Rams in both receiving yards and targets (tied with Todd Gurley), with six looks representing a full 20% share of the team’s targets.
Cooper Kupp will have a significant role in the Rams offense this season and Jared Goff is looking like an actual NFL quarterback. He is still available in the majority of leagues, making him the best add at the wide receiver position.
Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions (10%)
Kenny Golladay had plenty of hype surrounding him this preseason. The rookie out of Northern Illinois really cooled down after catching two touchdowns in his first preseason game.
He looked like an NFL receiver in Week 1, catching four passes for 69 yards and two TDs. He got a short one (10 yards) and caught a long pass (45 yards), showing he can be a red-zone threat and a deep threat.
Kenny Golladay had seven targets, tied with Theo Riddick for second on the team trailing only Golden Tate‘s 10 looks. Golladay should be owned in all leagues and is a perfect WR3 for the Lions and your fantasy team.
Allen Hurns/Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars (20%)
Someone will have to step up in the absence of Allen Robinson (torn ACL), and both Hurns and Lee are legitimate candidates.
Allen Hurns stepped up and led the team in targets (four). For the game, Hurns hauled in a modest three passes for 42 yards. Fantasy owners remember how good Hurns was just two years ago. He had 64 catches for 1,031 yards and 10 touchdowns. Unfortunately, they also remember how bad he was last season when he had only 477 yards and three TDs.
Marqise Lee finally stayed healthy last season and set career highs with 63 receptions, 105 targets, 851 yards, and three touchdowns. He was the 39th overall pick in the 2014 draft, and a beast at USC, and still has tons of potential. Lee missed much of this preseason with an ankle injury, so we should see him improve in the coming weeks.
The Jacksonville Jaguars expressed their intent to be a run-first team all offseason. They showed everyone that by hiding Blake Bortles and counting on their promising defense and rookie running back Leonard Fournette to carry them.
While I would not go overboard on getting these players, any team’s number one receiver should be owned in fantasy leagues. IF you have an open roster spot, you can speculate on Marqise Lee, who I believe has the upper hand. Restricted rosters should hold tight until someone emerges and then plan accordingly.
Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles (7%)
His huge game requires me to mention him, but I am not going to get too excited. I know he caught six of eight targets for 86 yards and a touchdown, but take away his big play (58-yard touchdown schoolyard play), and the numbers don’t look quite great.
He only played 61 percent of the offensive plays, and there is a decent chance this is a one-week thing. Ashlon Jeffery was locked up in coverage by Josh Norman for much in the afternoon, and I believe he is no more than a depth receiver.
Agholor received plenty of hype from the team and front office this offseason, but I am not buying it.
Paul Richardson, Seattle Seahawks (3%)
Paul Richardson led the Seahawks with seven targets in Week 1. He caught four of them for 59 yards, including a 28-yard deep strike.
The Seahawks made it clear just how much they trust Richardson when they shipped Jermaine Kearse to the Jets and cut preseason sensation, Kasen Williams. It became even clearer Sunday when Tyler Lockett had just three targets. Richardson is entrenched as the No.2 receiver behind Baldwin and a top-three target in the passing game.
The Seahawks’ running game is in shambles and it looks like the offense is going to be completely on Russell Wilson‘s back. That should mean plenty of opportunity for Paul Richardson.
If you lost Kevin White or Allen Robinson and still looking for a receiver, I would look to see if Richardson is available. He could be a nice replacement with upside.
Kendall Wright, Chicago Bears (7%)
The Bears lost Kevin White to a season-ending injury for the third straight season. This time, the receiver out of West Virginia broke his collarbone. That leaves Wright, Josh Bellamy and Deonte Thompson atop the team’s depth chart at wide receiver. It’s certainly possible none of them does enough to warrant fantasy consideration, but Wright is the best bet to be relevant in PPR formats.
Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons (35%)
The Atlanta Falcons had one of the league’s most explosive passing attacks in the NFL last season. Overall, Falcons’ tight ends combined for 788 yards and 10 touchdowns while Jacob Tamme shared time with Hooper last season. However, with the team letting Tamme go, we are expecting big things from the second-year TE Austin Hooper this season.
He came up with in Week 1, catching both of his targets for 128 yards and a TD. A big chunk of that production came on an 88-yard TD catch. Hooper is a mismatch against most linebackers and safeties. He has the size and speed to score from any distance and in the red zone.
Taking a shot on a tight end that will have plenty of red-zone opportunities is a high upside situation. TE is a very hard position to find value, but Austin Hooper offers that value. especially with his expanding role. Austin Hooper should be rostered in all formats.
Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills (12%)
Charles Clay led the Bills with nine targets, hauling in four of them for 53 yards and a touchdown. He played the part of a great Week 1 streaming option or DFS play against the Jets, and it certainly paid off.
Clay has been with QB Tyrod Taylor for the quarterback’ entire tenure in Buffalo, so the two have chemistry. His reliability is going to make him a favored weapon of Taylor’s all season. Clay’s ceiling is limited by both that the Bills offense is a run-heavy unit and his own lack of game-breaking ability.
In PPR formats, he offers a nice floor based on his high volume of targets and the fact that he is Taylor’s only returning receiver. He could continue to be a factor in the red zone and has a real chance of putting up TE1 numbers. At least to begin the season, until the new additions establish a connection with Taylor. If you are waiting on Jack Doyle to get Andrew Luck back or Jordan Reed to get healthy, owners should grab Charles Clay as a productive fill-in TE.
Jesse James, Pittsburgh Steelers (14%)
Since Jesse James scored twice in Week 1, I am almost obligated to mention him as a waiver wire possibility.
James might not score two more touchdowns for the rest of the season, so his Week 1 production was likely a product of the favorable match up. The TE position is always a roll of the dice, and James has never been a consistent producer. Look elsewhere.
The Watch List
Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
Neither Tom Savage or Deshaun Watson was able to run the Texans offense that effectively. However, Watson has movement in the pocket and knew to focus on his best option, DeAndre Hopkins, who totaled a massive 15 targets. Savage is a statue in the pocket and is a easy target for defenses.
Jacoby Brissett, QB, Indianapolis Colts
An a truly dreadful performance, the Colts realize what most of us already know, Scott Tolzien is not an NFL QB. The Colts need Andrew Luck back in the huddle immediately. Until then, they have to least try Brissett out there, how can it be worse?
Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Carson led Seahawks’ backs in carries (6) and yards (39). He broke off a 30-yard run for a big chunk of his 39 yards. He clearly outplayed Eddie Lacy, who looked terrible. If Thomas Rawls (ankle) is out again, Carson could see a big uptick in playing time. With next week’s game against the 49ers, he could be a legit sleeper. Maybe Carson can separate himself from the group.
Mike Tolbert, RB, Buffalo Bills
A painful reminder to owners of stud backs, that you better get their handcuffs for emergencies. Tolbert emerged as a possible touchdown vulture. With McCoy temporarily sidelined during the game, Tolbert became a factor and finished Week 1 with 42 yards and a score on 12 carrier. A must add for McCoy owners.
Marlon Mack, RB,Indianapolis Colts
The rookie back displayed his explosiveness that is lacking with both Frank Gore and Robert Turbin. While his production was mostly done in garbage time in a blowout, it is quite possible that Mack becomes the primary handcuff to an aging Frank Gore.
Check out the rest of our 2017 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.
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Source: NFL News